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Fifth National Climate Assessment - Read the Report

Learning from social science perspectives

Social science methods and insights can enhance Federal global change research, assessments, and programs.

In March 2017, USGCRP’s Social Science Coordinating Committee convened a three-day workshop, “Social Science Perspectives on Climate Change.” The workshop brought together over 80 participants, including scientists and program managers from 13 Federal agencies, representatives from non-governmental organizations, and academic social scientists from four disciplines: anthropology, archaeology, geography, and sociology. Participants focused on identifying how social science perspectives, methods, and data can improve our understanding of global climate change as well as new opportunities and avenues for incorporating social science research into Federal climate research, assessments, and programs. To facilitate discussion, three white papers were developed by academic and Federal social scientists that focused on three themes: (1) characterizing differences between and within communities that affect vulnerability to climate change; (2) providing social science perspectives on drivers of and responses to global climate change; and (3) identifying innovative tools, methods, and analyses to improve understanding of the interactions among human and natural systems under climate change. The workshop participants reviewed the white papers and provided input. The three white papers are now finalized and published and are available at